Dead Heat  - Patricia Briggs

Dead Heat builds upon the world laid out in earlier Alpha and Omega novels, with some from the Mercy Thompson series.

Anna and Charles are doing something for themselves for once, in this case, Charles takes Anna to Arizona on a horse shopping expedition and to meet a long time friend.  But a malicious fae attack threatens the family they are visiting, a family that happens to belong to the local pack's Alpha.

The Alpha and Omega books are more within the realm of romance than those about Mercy Thompson.  While I enjoy a good steamy read, that's never been what drew me to Briggs' writing.  To me, Dead Heat felt more like a Mercy Thompson novel, and I like that.  I also enjoy the personal growth Anna has made over the series, and getting to see her be sassy to dominant werewolves who have no idea how to handle her.  Charles and Anna definitely are still exploring their relationship, their bond, and what it really means to be family.  The main narrative arc is around children, the fae in question presents a risk to children, abuse towards those who cannot defend themselves, the obstacles facing Anna and Charles in having a child, and the risk that a child under Charles' protection would become a target.  The different strands of this arc are well woven together.  There is also a whole lot about horses, choice, and friendship.

Overall, a good addition to the series.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of NetGalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.